Dodgers go big step further, commit to Mookie Betts position change

No, it's not just a platoon anymore.
Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Three
Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Three / Norm Hall/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Dodgers pulled off an historic coup in 2020 when they acquired Gold Glove right fielder/megastar Mookie Betts in exchange for a lesser right fielder and some over-hyped prospects. At the time, Betts was a converted infielder who'd become a defensive master at a position of need, and seemed poised to continue to both mash and evolve for the next decade.

But ... there were concerns about his size and long-term ability to remain both healthy and effective. Betts spent his 20s defying the odds, but some critics feared he would spend his 30s becoming Andrew McCutchen, a concern that became more pressing when he committed to the Dodgers for the remainder of his baseball future.

It seems, after beginning the process of appeasing Betts and slowing his breakdown last season, the Dodgers are now wholly committed to satisfying his wandering eye and okaying a position change.

Manager Dave Roberts told MLB Network on Monday (live from the Winter Meetings) that Betts should be considered the team's starting second baseman moving forward. Previously, the team had hinted they'd be using Betts at second against right-handers a great deal. Roberts upped the ante on Monday, expanding the offering a little bit further.

Dodgers move Mookie Betts to second base full-time. Who is Dodgers right fielder in 2024?

Shohei Ohtani remains the apple of the Dodgers' eye, but he also remains a DH. JD Martinez, the team's apparent Ohtani backup plan, comes with the same label. Were early offseason reports connecting Los Angeles to Teoscar Hernández (uh, defensive downgrade) worth chasing? All we know for certain is that Gavin Lux is expected to be Betts' double play partner when he returns from ACL rehab, and that Chris Taylor, certainly floating across the depth chart, will absorb any reps that fall to him.

The most complicated part about Betts switching positions, of course, is that this isn't an example of the Dodgers pressing the panic button. This is Los Angeles' braintrust keeping Betts satisfied and approving his request, and taking him off his feet (at his own behest) creates another hole for a team that's suddenly entertaining position changes for Miguel Vargas and Michael Busch, too.